David Goodwillie leaves Northern Premier League club Radcliffe as club admits ‘significant misstep’ in signing ex-Scotland striker | Football News
David Goodwillie appeared for Radcliffe FC in the Northern Premier League on Tuesday night, but has now left after the club admitted a “significant misstep” in signing the forward.
Goodwillie, who Sky Sports News was told had signed for the club in the seventh tier of English football on a short-term deal, was ruled to be a rapist in a civil case in 2017, six years after being initially charged.
No criminal proceedings were instructed against Goodwillie, but he was ordered to pay £100,000 in damages by a judge after it was ruled he raped a woman in a flat in West Lothian in 2011.
Goodwillie was named on the Radcliffe teamsheet to take on Belper Town on Tuesday, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 win.
However, following a backlash from supporters, the club has now announced his departure and apologised for signing the 33-year-old.
A statement read: “As a club we have always been about second chances and have been a part of many players’ and staff members’ rehabilitation along that journey, we’ve always given people a chance to improve their life and found support in this endeavour.
“When the club was presented with David Goodwillie that same logic was applied, but in this case it’s clear that was a significant misstep and our due diligence should have been of a much higher standard.
“We can vouch for all the people at the club involved in this signing did so out of the desire to do a good thing for an individual with an admittedly tainted past as we have done so successfully before but this was a bridge too far.
“This move came about very quickly, with clearance only granted extremely late leaving us in a position where our media volunteers were unable to release details prior to team sheets being produced – while regrettable this was also unavoidable.
“From the board down to the management team, who we backed, and have always backed on playing decisions – it’s clear that as a whole we got this wrong. The focus was misplaced and as a growing community club we realise that our impacts are also more widely felt too.
“We have always strived to be a source of pride to our town with good and honest intentions, and we think we have made a significant positive impact for our town over the last six years both on and off the field and we sincerely apologize to everyone connected with the club and the community – this is a mistake that will never happen again.”
Goodwillie left Raith Rovers in September 2022, eight months after initially signing and having not made a single appearance, after the Kirkcaldy club faced a ferocious backlash from club sponsor Val McDermid, fans, Rape Crisis Scotland and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
His arrival at Stark’s Park also prompted a raft of resignations among board members and club volunteers, while the club’s women’s side opted to rebrand under a different name.
The 33-year-old did recently play one trial game for Livingston United in November in the ninth level of Scottish football, scoring twice, but never played again.
Goodwillie has three caps for Scotland, and played for Dundee United, Blackburn Rovers and Aberdeen among others.